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Cheese (3-5)

9 minutes
Primary subjects: 
3, 4, 5
Average: 0 (0 votes)

This lesson includes a discussion of cheese and identification of its nutritional benefits. At the end of this lesson, students should be able to identify the food group cheese belongs to (dairy) and other benefits of cheese. They will be able to identify the different kinds of cheese, popular dishes that use cheese, that cheese contains calcium, and why cheese is good for the body.

Key objectives for students
Expose students to cheese, its nutritional benefits, appearance, and taste.
Identify which food group contains cheese
Discuss the varieties of cheese
Discuss how cheese is made
List the main vitamins and nutrients in cheese
Secondary subjects
Agriculture Science, Health and Nutrition
Healthy choices regarding food, Five food groups, Nutritional benefits of healthy food
Communication skills
Curiosity, Optimism
Real-World Application
Background information for teachers

The majority of 9-Minute Nutrition Ninja lessons include taste tests of the day’s lesson. We have provided an allergy form. Please provide this allergy form to all students approximately one week before the tasting activities to allow ample time for parents/guardians to read, sign, and return to the classroom.


  • Pass out cheese that has been cut into quarter inch cubes
  • Serve on a small cocktail napkin or plate
  • Serve room temperature
  • Ask questions such as “Do you like the taste of cheese?”, “Would you buy this kind of cheese at the store?”
In Advance

One week

Please provide a printed copy of the allergy form to all students approximately one week before the tasting activities to allow ample time for parents/guardians to read, sign, and return to the classroom. Check your school policies to understand how to handle food allergies and modify the tasting activities for students with food sensitivities.

Two days

  • Purchase cheese for tastings (recommended are cheddar, mozzarella, or Monterey Jack cut into ½ inch cubes prior to class.)
  • Provide gloves for those handling food
  • Use tongs for passing out food
  • Use cocktail napkins or small plates
  • Serve room temperature
Materials needed


  • cheese for tastings (recommended are cheddar, mozzarella, or Monterey Jack cut into ½ inch cubes prior to class.)
  • gloves for those handling food
  • tongs for passing out food
  • enough cocktail napkins or small plates for each student


Cheese Handout

Time Exercise Description
9 minutes Discussion


  • Hello Nutrition Ninjas!
  • Today we are going to talk about cheese!
  • What food group is cheese in? That’s right, the dairy group!
  • The dairy group provides us with many vitamins and nutrients including calcium, which helps make our bones and teeth strong.
  • Cheese has lots of other nutrients too like protein, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin B12.
  • There are many different kinds of cheese. Can you name some?
  • Great! Some common cheeses are cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, and Colby.
  • What are some of your favorite ways to eat cheese?
  • Let’s talk about the different kinds of cheese!
  • Cheese can have many qualities: it can be hard or soft, strong or mild in flavor, and can be made from the milk of different animals including cows, goats, and even water buffaloes!
  • Has anyone ever heard of Swiss cheese? Have you seen it? What does it look like?
  • That’s right, it has a lot of holes in it!
  • Has anyone ever tried Swiss cheese?
  • Does anybody know what color Colby cheese is? That’s right, it is orange.
  • Colby has calcium and phosphorus that help you grow strong bones and teeth and helps your body store and use energy. Colby cheese has a little iron and vitamin A, too.
  • Has anyone heard of mozzarella cheese?
  • Can you think of any kinds of meals that might have mozzarella in them? Maybe pizza or lasagna? Who here likes pizza?
  • Mozzarella cheese might make you think of Italian food, but does it make you think of large animals called water buffaloes that run in herds?
  • Well mozzarella was first made near Naples, Italy from the rich milk of water buffaloes.
  • Sometimes it’s still made with buffalo milk, but now it’s mostly made from cow’s milk.
  • Mozzarella is a soft, white, and stretchy cheese. Sometimes it’s called string cheese.
  • Like other cheeses, mozzarella has calcium and protein. Calcium is good for strong bones and teeth, and protein gives us energy!
  • Mozzarella has vitamins such as A, D, and E, which are important for growing your bones, and helping your body to use the calcium.
  • Let’s try some of these cheeses today! (give cheese samples)
  • I also have something about cheese for you to take home with you today (Pass out Cheese Handout).
Assessment Opportunities

At the end of this session, each student should be able to answer at least three questions correctly. Sample questions can be “Name an animal whose milk is used for cheese,” “Name 3 different kinds of cheese,” and “Describe the look and taste of cheese.”

Standards assessment

Grades 3-5 Health and PE state-by-state standards_Cheese

Grades 3-5 Science state-by-state standards_Cheese

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science Grade 4
TITLE 4-LS1. From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Students who demonstrate understanding can: Use a model to describe that animals’ receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.

Community connections

Students can discuss with family members what they learned about cheese, and show them the Cheese Handout. Encourage students to share with their family members a new fact they learned, such as “mozzarella cheese was first made from the milk from water buffaloes” and report back if their families knew this fact.